Recently we published an article detailing Tom Waits’ favourite albums of all time and, as you lapped it up, you called for more of the same. With that in mind, we’ve been digging deep into the archives to find more wisdom from the great Mr Waits.
That deep, gravelly and uncompromising voice has made him a favourite with the acclaimed filmmakers like the Coen Brothers Jim Jarmusch in recent years and, considering his love for artists such as Captain Beefheart and Lounge Lizards, it should come as little surprise that Waits’ arthouse film taste is just as eclectic.
With appearances in films such as The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Coffee and Cigarettes, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and more, Waits’ filmography is growing in popularity as his cult following track his career through music and cinema.
A little while back, while in conversation with Criterion, Waits detailed 14 of his most loved art films in a list that was compiled by Chris Ambrosio and included Federico Fellini, Carl Theodor Dreyer and more.
Waits once said: “Mostly, I straddle reality and the imagination. My reality needs imagination like a bulb needs a socket. My imagination needs reality like a blind man needs a cane.” So, with that in mind, here is some of the films that have guided Waits imagination through the years:
- La Strada, Federico Fellini, 1954.
- Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman, 2003.
- Putney Swope, Robert Downey, Sr., 1969.
- Everything by Carl Theodor Dreyer
- Amarcord, Federico Fellini, 1973.
- 8 ½, Federico Fellini, 1963.
- The Night of the Hunter, Charles Laughton, 1955.
- Wise Blood, John Huston, 1979.
- Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman, 1971.
- Eraserhead, David Lynch, 1977.
- Pickup on South Street, Samuel Fuller, 1953.
- Ikiru, Akira Kurosawa, 1952.
- Vernon, Florida, Errol Morris, 1981.
- In a Lonely Place, Nicholas Ray, 1950.
Waits, clearly a huge fan of Federico Fellini, includes three of the Italians’ now iconic films in his list and, similarly, found it too difficult to single out any specifics from the filmography of Carl Theodor Dreyer.
David Lynch gets a mention, as does the great Akira Kurosawa who many regard as one of the best film directors of all time.
So, when divulging in this list, it’s best to listen to the words of Waits himself: “We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.”
Take of that what you will.